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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The empire from Constantine the Great to Justinian

Theological disputes and the Third Ecumenical Council   -Cf. Acts of the Third Ecumenical Council


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St Cyril of AlexandriaNestorius persecutions of his opponents aroused a great storm in the church. Particularly strong was the protest by the Alexandrian patriarch, Cyril, and Pope Celestine, who condemned the new heretical teaching at a council gathered in Rome. Theodosius, wishing to put an end to these church disputes, convoked at Ephesus the Third Ecumenical Council, which condemned the Nestorian doctrine in the year 431. Nestorius was exiled to Egypt where he spent the remainder of his life.

The condemnation of Nestorianism did not end it; there still remained numerous followers of this teaching in Syria and Mesopotamia and the Emperor ordered the administration of these provinces to take severe measures against them. The main center of Nestorianism was Edessa, the home of the famous school which spread the ideas of Antioch. In the year 489, during the reign of Zeno, this school was destroyed and the teachers and pupils were driven out of the city. They went to Persia and founded a new school at Nisibis. The king of Persia gladly admitted the Nestorians and offered them his protection, for, since he considered them enemies of the Empire, he counted on using them to his advantage when an opportunity arose. The Persian church of the Nestorian or Syro-Chaldean Christians, was headed by a bishop who bore the title of Catholicos. From Persia, Christianity in its Nestorian form spread widely into central Asia and was accepted by a considerable number of followers in India.

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